Harman declines opportunity to back autism campaign

October 19, 2009 2:32 PM
Mark has a strong record of support for people with autism both here and in Parliament

Mark has a strong record of support for people with autism both here and in Parliament

Last Thursday (15th October) at Business Questions in the House of Commons local MP Mark Hunter asked the Leader of the House, Harriet Harman, if she supported the National Autistic Society's (NAS) new campaign in support of adults with autism - "Don't write me off". The Leader of the House declined the opportunity to offer her personal support, but did say that the issue might be discussed at a later date.

Mr Hunter's question follows a new report titled 'Don't write me off' by the National Autistic Society (NAS) which reveals a third of people with the condition currently live without a job and without benefits; many are forced to rely on family and friends for help.

Mark has been an enthusiastic campaigner for getting better support for people with autism. He regularly corresponds with constituents with autism, and has visited Aspirations a local centre for young people with autism spectrum disorder to see how local services can help to support people with autism and their families.

In Parliament his work so far has seen him speak out in the Commons about autism issues on several occasions, sponsor an Autism Bill in Parliament, and contribute regularly to the Parliamentary Group on Autism. Mr Hunter has also given his full backing to the Autism Bill currently going through Parliament, which aims to improve services and support for people with autism.

Commenting after Business Questions, Mark said:

"I was surprised and disappointed that Harriet Harman failed to back this campaign today. I hope it is not a sign of things to come, and I will continue to press the Government to take seriously the problems people with autism face.

"This report shows that people with autism need greater support, and that any social stigma must end now.

"We must address the inequalities of the current system, and I will continue to work hard for a better, fairer future for people with autism."

Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS said:

"We are delighted to have the support of Mark Hunter MP and strongly urge other MPs to follow his lead. We will keep campaigning until the Government's "no-one written off" pledge is a reality for people with autism."

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